Critical Condition

Humana, Inc.’s Unconditional Surrender to Censorship

Remember the White House’s attempt to stifle the health-policy debate by encouraging its cadres to forward “fishy” rumors about health reform to Linda Douglass in the health czar’s office? Most of us treated it as a joke. Many of us even “informed” on ourselves by adding Ms. Douglass to our e-mail lists.

Well, we got that wrong. We should have taken it much more seriously, as evidenced by the government censoring Humana’s communications with its Medicare Advantage members about health reform. Incredibly, the Left doesn’t see anything wrong with this. In fact, an activist over at Huffington Post announced that HuffPo has decided to collaborate with the White House by encouraging its fans to send examples of mailed “scare tactics” to a HuffPo e-mail address for compilation.

The activist, Dawn Teo, has unwittingly done a public service by posting an scanned electronic version of the document and envelope that Humana, Inc. mailed to its Medicare Advantage members. I write “unwittingly” because I don’t suppose that there’s a law preventing someone not associated with Humana, Inc., sending the mailer as an e-mail attachment to any Medicare beneficiary who might be interested.

Although, it might not do any good. I dialled the toll-free number and went to the website listed in the mailer this afternoon, and both were out of service, suggesting that Humana has unconditionally surrendered to the government.

Ms. Teo also helpfully links the reader to the government’s 183-page manual for insurers which offer Medicare Advantage plans, which, of course, self-styled consumer advocates do not believe imposes enough censorship on insurers. (Just wait until the government writes its censorship manual for insurers participating in its “co-ops” or “exchanges” or “gateways” or whatever they will end up calling them.)

For those unacquainted with Medicare “advocacy,” its fundamental priniciple is that seniors are incapable of making their own decisions, either about health care or health policy.  Guided by this principle, the government seeks to assert monopoly control over information available to seniors.

I’m more convinced than ever that America’s seniors were right to rise up during the summer’s town halls, and that they need to continue their resistance.

— John R. Graham is director of Health Care Studies at the Pacific Research Institute. 

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